Sunday, June 10, 2012

Wegmans LPGA Championship Saturday: Is Eun-Hee Ji Back?

Eun-Hee Ji was +4 through her 1st 10 holes this week at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, but thanks to some excellent ball-striking over her next 44 holes, she's now -4 and 1 shot ahead of Karrie Webb, and 2 shots ahead of Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen, Inbee Park, and Guilia Sergas.  Ji is one of only 2 players in the field to break 70 at Locust Hill twice, but the way things have been going this week, it's hard to say she has a real advantage heading into the final round, given how quickly things have turned even for those who have been playing great in stretches. 

  • Guilia Sergas has shot 2 69s this week, but made 7 bogeys on Friday to balloon to a 76.
  • Jeong Jang got it to -5 on Thursday before bogeying 3 holes in a row and 4 of her last 5 as she closed out her round on the front, yet after 54 holes she's still only 3 shots out of the lead.
  • Karrie Webb hit 27 of her 1st 36 greens in regulation, by far the best in the field, but made 8 bogeys in the 1st 2 rounds and was treading water at +1.  Yesterday she only hit 9 greens, but birdied 5 of her last 11 holes and took only 23 putts on her way to a 68 that tied Ji for low round of the week.  Go figure!
  • Paula Creamer was -4 for the week with 6 holes left to play yesterday, but bogeyed 3 of them to drop back to -1.  She hit 10 greens on Thursday but saved a 70 thanks to taking only 24 putts; on Saturday, she hit 16 greens but had 35 putts for a 73.  Ouch!
  • Jennifer Johnson eagled the 17th Saturday to get to -3, but she followed it up with a double on 18 to drop back to -1.
  • Mika Miyazato birdied her last 3 holes in her opening 9 on Thursday to fire a bogey-free 34 on the back, but hasn't returned to that -3 mark yet.  She got it back to -2 late in the day yesterday thanks to a birdie on 17, but promptly bogeyed 18 to fall 3 shots off the pace.
  • Cristie Kerr has shot 70 twice, but still finds herself 4 shots off the lead, thanks to a stretch late in her round Friday where she bogeyed 5 of the 1st 7 holes on the front 9.
  • Karin Sjodin's eagle on 8 yesterday got her to -1, but she needed a birdie on the par-5 17th to save a 39 on the back and stay within 5 shots of the lead.
  • 2nd-round leader Se Ri Pak needed 2 birdies in her last 4 holes to salvage a moving-day 76.  Even though she bogeyed 6 of her 1st 13 holes Saturday to plunge from -3 to +3, she's still only 5 shots out of the lead.
  • Na Yeon Choi had been at the top of the leaderboard all week, but a triple on the 16th contributed to Saturday's back-9 42 that dropped her from -3 to +2 for the week. 
And that's only the players who are still in the hunt.  When you consider that Mo Martin, the 1st player this week to post an under-par round, is now +9 (T59), that 1st-round co-leaders Beatriz Recari and Ryann O'Toole, who matched Sergas's opening 69, are now +6 (T41) and +4 (T28), respectively, that Mi Jung Hur followed up a Friday 69 with a Saturday 77, and that even a moving-day 69 couldn't get Morgan Pressel within 5 shots of the lead, the old adage that past performance does not guarantee future results holds a particular resonance today.

So with 22 golfers within 5 shots of the lead and only 13 of them under par, this major could come down to who gets hot and who gets cold over a very short stretch of holes.  Here are the final-round pairings.  I wouldn't put a win past anyone who starts after noon!

1 comment:

Tony Jesselli (Tonyj5) said...

This is the complete opposite of the last two years when Kerr and Yani won going away. This is going to be quite a final round. Nobody seems to be able to stay in front so far. I thought Paula had a great chance until those final 6 holes. Ai was in great position but didn't get a single birdie in her last 14 holes. Big surprise is Sydnee Michaels who has not shot a round over par. Put 20 names in a hat and pick one, because anyone can win today.